Yeah, we know, you're probably thinking, "C'mon guys, a '70 Plymouth Fury? You knuckleheads at Mopar Muscle have seriously gone off the deep end. That can't possibly be cool." We simply reply, "Trust us."
Nothing speaks more '70s than the big brown land barge you see before you, especially with that super groovy paisley top. the Mod Top was unique and indicative of the late '60s era, but a paisley top? In the right mindset, it's pretty cool. That's certainly what Butch Houghton of Nicholasville, Kentucky, thought. This retired television engineer needed a daily driver since his '68 Six-Pack 340 Dart was a little too wild for the grocery store parking lot and neighborhood streets. After reading an ad in the local paper, Butch and his pal, Bobby, went to check out the aircraft carrier-size C-Body. With all the options comparable to a Cadillac, along with the sporty hide-away lights and the aforementioned paisley top, Butch thought the Fury would be a fun ride to cruise around in.
With only 57,000 miles on the odometer, the Plymouth was considerably straight. Butch made several minor upgrades to the big-block beast, making its drivability all the more fun. When Butch saw an advertisement from Legendary Auto Interiors advertising the release of the paisley top material, he knew he had to replace his with a new one. What followed was a complete rebuild.
In the '70s, it was all about...
In the '70s, it was all about being noticed. How could you not be noticed with a paisley roof and interior?
Butch pulled the original top and windows so he could attack the cancer that was growing on the roof. Meanwhile, he was also balancing the rebuild of his Dart that he had sent off to a friend for paint and bodywork. Once the A-Body returned after three years at the shop, Butch shipped the Fury off for the same treatment. As time passed, more and more N.O.S. parts were becoming available for the C-Body, making Butch change his initial plan of a minor freshening up to a full-blown restoration. He spent the better part of the following year chasing down trim parts and other replacements, mainly for the interior. His efforts were successful as the side moldings, wheelwell trim, taillights, tail panel, door handles, and all the emblems were all replaced.
While the interior was being replaced, Butch's continual joke of, "I should put a Hemi in it" became a challenge from his friends. Wanting to prove that he had the stones to pull it off, Butch began a parts-gathering endeavor. anticipating the powerplant he planned on sliding between the wheel hubs, Butch scavenged a couple police cars and masterfully adapted a 140-mph speedometer cluster and oil pressure gauge to fit where the in-dash clock used to reside. Once the Plymouth returned from Larry Sampson's paint shop in Science Hill, Kentucky, coated in several layers of T8 Walnut Metallic, Butch had the new paisley top and trim installed. The only external signifier of his potent powerplant was a swap of the 383 hood labels with stock Hemi tags.
Ever seen a fully loaded Plymouth...
Ever seen a fully loaded Plymouth Fury with 472 inches of stroked Hemi and air conditioning before? Neither have we. That's what makes this sooooo cool.
Speaking of the Hemi, Butch landed a block during the restoration. Knowing that a Mopar Performance crate engine was 1) out of his price range and 2) wasn't going to make the power he wanted, he opted to build his own. The 426 was cleared to make room for a 4.15-inch stroker crank. Manley rods and Ross pistons bolted together with the crank, while aluminum MP cylinder heads sat on top. Only a mild valve job was needed to make the power out of the heads that Butch wanted. A .565-inch lift Straightline Performance cam was slid in place for bumping the lifters in time. A single plane Mopar Performance M1 intake with an Edelbrock 800 Thunder Series carburetor was all painted to look as stock as humanly possible.
These labels are the only...
These labels are the only external indication that underneath this football-field-length hood rests a stroked hard-hitting Hemi. This is the rolling definition of the term "sleeper."
Behind the Grant steering...
Behind the Grant steering wheel, the police-issue speedo and oil pressure gauges fit perfectly in the stock cluster. Notice the oil gauge is where the factory clock used to be.
Since Furys never came with 426s, certain items needed to be fabricated. Along those lines, Kevin Warner of Warner Automotive in Winchester, Kentucky, had to hand-fabricate a set of long-tube custom headers that would send the gases down a set of 3-inch pipes through a pair of Dynomax Super Hemi Turbo mufflers out the rear. Larry Farmer of Lexington, Kentucky, rebuilt the 727 TorqueFlite to handle the hard-breathing Hemi and to survive pushing all that sheetmetal down the road. Larry's assistance was essential to the build as his efforts to install subframe connectors and fabricate an 8-quart oil pan were much needed. A 2,800-stall torque converter was bolted on as the auto got a Turbo Action Cheetah fully automatic valvebody, Kevlar bands, Red clutches, 4.2 KD bolt-in sprag, and a Hemi governor-all thanks to John Cope at Cope Racing Transmissions.
The interior was the last to be done. a custom air-conditioning system by Classic Auto Air (which was mocked up on a faux Hemi block), new carpet, and a headliner by Troy Hensley of Custom Auto Trim in Richmond, Kentucky, were installed. Troy recovered all the seats, fitting the material to nearly factory perfection, with the paisley remnants used on both bench seats. Some signs of a modern influence are the Grant steering wheel, the Pioneer CD player with Custom Auto Sound speakers tucked neatly in all the stock locations, and three-point retractable seatbelts.
The last hurrah was the police-issue steel rims on Mastercraft 15-inch rubber. The freeway flyer 3.23 gears spin smoothly in the 8-3/4 differential without a worry. The '73 Fury disc brakes were installed up front with rebuilt stock drums in back, and Espo heavy-duty leaf springs support the rear.
Just for fun, Butch marked everything to match original assembly line grease marks. With less than a day left before the 25th annual Mopar Nationals, and with his friends, Larry and Bobby, pitching in on the build, the Fury was finally finished. Butch had nearly zero time to really break-in the car before we spotted him on the show grounds. We'd say his timing was perfect.
Owner: Butch Houghton, Nicholasville, KY
Car: '70 Plymouth Fury
Color: T8 Walnut Metallic
Engine: 472 Hemi, 4.15-inch stroker crank, 6.86 steel I-beam Manley rods, 10.6:1 Ross pistons, hydraulic .565 Straightline Performance camshaft, MP aluminum heads, PEP stainless valves, Comp Cams valvesprings, MP rockers, MP M1 single plane intake, Edelbrock 800 Thunder carburetor
Transmission: 727 TorqueFlite, automatic, 2,800-stall torque converter, Turbo Action Cheetah fully automatic valvebody, Kevlar bands, Red clutches, 4.2 KD bolt-in sprag, Hemi governor
Rearend: 8-3/4 diff., 3.23 Sure Grip
Wheels/Tires: Front: Police Interceptor steel 15x7, Mastercraft 235/70/15,
Rear: Police Interceptor steel 15x7; Mastercraft 275/70/15